Aug 01 2007

Air Force opens new Huntsville defense building

Montgomery Advertiser

By The Associated Press

The effort to create a missile defense shield over the United States turned its focus to Redstone Arsenal, where the U.S. Air Force dedicated a $44 million building for 1,000 workers on missile defense programs.

Eventually about 5,500 of the Missile Defense Agency's 8,500 employees will work at Redstone, Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, the MDA director, said at Monday's dedication of the building at the Von Braun Office Complex.

"This marks the major milestone of the Missile Defense Agency's move down into the Huntsville area," Obering said.

He recalled the program had its origins a quarter-century ago before the end of the Cold War.

"President Ronald Reagan had a vision, and what you are seeing today is a fulfillment of that dream and forward-looking vision," Obering said.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, among dignitaries at the dedication, said the work of the missile defense program "is only going to improve and sharpen our abilities to make attacks on our nation less likely.

"We all know that we live in a troubled world, a challenged world and sometimes insane world. What's more troubling than the possibility of someone hitting us with a missile or a nuclear weapon?" he said.

U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, said another phase of the Von Braun Office Complex will hold most of the other MDA workers expected to arrive by 2011.

"The money and planning for that next phase is coming along nicely, and I see no real issues (in Washington) with those," Cramer said.